The Mistress of Paris

Take a walk on the wild side of Belle Epoque Paris with this biography of Emile-Louise Delabigne, known as countess Valtesse de la Bigne (1848-1910). who was a legendary French courtesan and demi-modaine. Her lovers included countless painters, writers and politicians, while her affairs with women caused a scandal in turn-of-the-century Paris. She was painted by Édouard Manet and inspired Émile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel “Nana.” Continue reading “The Mistress of Paris”

John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres

The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is world famous for its connection with artists, writers and intellectuals… and now shopping. For many years this part of Paris has been a stronghold of the “sans culottes,” a refuge to artists and a place for bohemians. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. The writer Oscar Wilde spent his last days in the quarter, at the small, run-down hotel called the Hotel d’Alsace at 13 rue des Beaux‑Arts. The legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts—attended by such artists as Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat—is here. And the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres is where students battled the police in May 1968. Continue reading “John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres”

Paris Impressions

A new bilingual book “Paris Impressionniste” illustrated with 100 paintings brings together some of the images of this mythical city many of us carry in our head, such as Camille Pisarro’s “Le Pont Royal” or Caillebotte’s “Rue de Paris, temps de pluie,” or Edouard Manet’s legendary “un bar aux Folies Bergere” When Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca we’ll always have Paris. he wasn’t talking about the Paris of surly bureaucrats, strikes and traffic jams, but the Paris of Manet’s lovers in “Chez le pere Lathuille”… the romantic Paris.

Monet painted smoke clouding the Gare Saint-Lazare, Renoir captured the Pont Neuf’s reflections in the Seine, Pissarro portrayed Avenue de l’Opéra from his hotel room, Manet immortalized waitresses in a café at Pigalle… Between its river and its tall skies, the French capital lacked neither nature nor textures for artists intent on capturing the magic of light in an urban setting. Plus the city with its street life, workers, cafes and entertainment was an extremely happening fin de siecle place to paint. Continue reading “Paris Impressions”

Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal

Leonard Freed. Harlem fashion show, New York, 1963 © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos

The legendary Magnum photo agency, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger, is an international photo cooperative owned by its members. This year marks the 70th anniversary for the famed photography agency and the completion of its Paris archive. To celebrate Le Bal presents “Magnum Analog Recovery” an exhibition of work from Magnum’s Paris archives that spans from the agency’s creation in 1947 to 1977. This collection—stored in Paris as paper prints— brings together “press”  photos distributed to newspapers and magazines. Continue reading “Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal”

Walker Evans Paris Retrospective

© Walker Evans Archive. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Pompidou Center revisits the work of one of the 20th century’s most influential photographers with an extensive Walker Evans’ (1903-1975) retrospective. His signature style with its attention to quotidian detail became a major photography reference for serious students of photography. This is the first major retrospective of his work in France (until August 14, 2017). Continue reading “Walker Evans Paris Retrospective”

Espace EDF Revisits Video Games

Tribute to video game developers

Over the last fifty years video games have gone from scientific curiosities to fads to becoming one of the most popular forms of entertainment earning billions world wide dwarfing the film industry. The exhibition “Game, le jeu video a travers le temps”  (History of Video Games) at the Foundation EDF revisits video games from Ralph Baer’s legendary “Brown Box” (1967) to Pac Man to mobile gaming and immersive virtual reality (until August 27). Continue reading “Espace EDF Revisits Video Games”

Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay

Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles, Vincent van Gogh

Wassily Kandinsky called for a spiritual revolution in his 1911 manifesto  “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” so that artists might express their inner lives in abstract “non-material” terms. The exhibition “Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky” at Paris’ Musée d’Orsay revisits artists such as Kandinsky who during the late 19th and early 20th century attempted to evoke the transcendental in their work. Continue reading “Mystical Landscapes at Musée d’Orsay”